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Balkans Uncovered
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SOFIA,SOFIA

Balkans Uncovered

Discover a fascinating region of stunning natural beauty and diverse cultural heritage in exquisite comfort and style. Uncover the top highlights of the Balkans throughout 7 beautiful countries including Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia. Learn about the countless struggles which have shaped the Balkan ‘powder keg’ in history. Soak in gorgeous monuments and impressive cities as well as spectacular nature. Embrace the colourful cultures and delicious local cuisine while uncovering all the must-see sights from each country.
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  • Duration
    12 Days
  • Starting From
    $3,323
    /person
    Twin sharing
  • Travel Operator
    Ciconia Travel
  • Flights
    Not Included
    Flight booking assistance will be provided.
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Itinerary

Day 1: Sofia

Prepare for an intriguing adventure through the ‘powder keg of Europe’ over twelve days and seven countries. Upon arrival in Sofia, you will be transferred to your hotel by a Ciconia representative at the airport. In the afternoon, join the welcome meeting at the hotel lobby with your fellow travellers and Tour Director. Greet the delicious Balkan cuisine starting with a Bulgarian twist at a group dinner. Always allow some room for the myriad of tasty desserts available. Hotel: Hilton Sofia 5* Optional Experiences: Group Dinner Meals: - 

  Hotel:  None

Day 2: Sofia - Belgrade

Enjoy a filling breakfast at our hotel before embarking on an adventure through the streets of Sofia with our expert local guide visiting a myriad of impressive sights such as National Library, Sofia University, The Parliament, and continue on to The St. Alexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral, the National Theatre and St. Sofia Church. Your guide will provide insightful commentary about the diverse history of Bulgaria and the communist era as you visit the houses of the Council of Ministers, presidency and the former communist party headquarters. Take a scenic drive passing hills and green forests, arrive in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. Presenting stunning views of the Sava and Danube rivers with the Belgrade Fortress in the background. After we check into our hotel, enjoy your personal leisure time to launch your own discovery. Sample the local cuisine in fine fashion at your hotel and roam the vibrant shopping streets. Hotel: Hotel Metropol Palace, Luxury Collection 5* Meals: Breakfast, Dinner Key Highlights: Sofia Guided Tour 

  Hotel:  None

Day 3: Belgrade

The day is yours to soak in all the beauty Belgrade offers. Launch your adventure with a comprehensive guided tour of the city at the bustling shopping street Knez Mihailova. Roam the Belgrade Fortress overlooking a merge of Danube and Sava Rivers with feudal cannons in display – declared a Monument of Culture of Great Importance. Uncover the marvellous blend of medieval and modern through a myriad of impressive sites at the heart of the city. You will have plentiful personal leisure time in the afternoon to shop around, continue your cultural discovery and sip delicious cocktails at a contemporary local bar. Your dinner seat is reserved at our hotel's impressive restaurant. Hotel: Hotel Metropol Palace, Luxury Collection 5* Meals: Breakfast, Dinner Key Highlights: Belgrade Guided Tour 

  Hotel:  None

Day 4: Belgrade - Sarajevo

Bidding farewell to the buzzing Belgrade, we embark on a journey through green forests to meet the multi-coloured fabric of Bosnia & Herzegovina at Sarajevo. Home to people of various religions, ethnic and cultural background, the diverse architectural and cultural landscape is reflected all around the town. Witnessing the start of World War 1, splitting of the Eastern and Western Roman Empire, and the devastating Yugoslav War in recent history; the marks of history are hidden around every corner. As your Travel Director and local expert guide you through the charming old town and the Bascarsija, learn all about the rich history of the country. Sarajevo is well known for its various delicious meat dishes and desserts. Make sure to try traditional Turkish coffee for the best finish to your dinner. Hotel: Swissotel Sarajevo 5* Meals: Breakfast, Dinner Key Highlights: Sarajevo Guided Tour 

  Hotel:  None

Day 5: Sarajevo - Mostar - Trebinje

Drive through lush fields and valleys towards the adorable village of Mostar. Famously known for the gorgeous stone bridge in the old town, a prime example of Islamic architecture in the Balkans, designed by a student of the Great Ottoman architect, Sinan. Join your guide for a walking tour through the Stari Most and the old carsija (market), still presenting the authentic style of 15th century in its splendid architecture. Sample the delicious cuisine over lunch at one of the lovely venues and complete your discovery. In the afternoon, we depart for Trebinje, located by the border with Croatia. We arrive just in time for dinner at our hotel, where we will spend two nights. Hotel: Central Park Hotel 4* Meals: Breakfast, Dinner Key Highlights: Mostar Guided Tour 

  Hotel:  None

Day 6: Trebinje - Dubrovnik - Trebinje

Ready your cameras and sunscreen as we head out to the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, Dubrovnik. Crossing into Croatia with a short ride, soak in the unique sight of terra-cotta tiled roofs encircled by might medieval walls, preserved in incredible condition. Stop for an amazing view of the old town from the overlooking hills, and meet your local expert at the gates to launch your guided tour of Dubrovnik. Learn about the intriguing history of the once-great city state, thriving through its maritime connections and protected by its gigantic ramparts. As we cover the must-see highlights, relax at a breezy restaurant over a delicious seafood lunch. You will have personal leisure time in the afternoon for your preferred activities, whether strolling on the walls, taking an optional boat trip, discovering the quaint streets and pedestrian avenues, or taking a refreshing dip in the Adriatic Sea. We drive back to Trebinje for dinner at our hotel. Hotel: Central Park Hotel 4* Meals: Breakfast, Dinner Key Highlights: Dubrovnik Guided Tour Optional Experiences: Dubrovnik Boat Trip 

  Hotel:  None

Day 7: Trebinje - Kotor - Shkodra

Our adventure continues to a less crowded, but just as impressive location. Driving along the skirts of mountains along the coast, we reach Kotor surrounded by monumental walls. Join a walking tour in the old town fortress with your expert local guide and Travel Director, wandering the labyrinthine narrow streets. Enjoy a refreshing lunch at a local restaurant and pace your adventure with personal leisure time in the afternoon. You can hike to the top of the incredible fortress for spectacular views over Kotor Bay or capture the prettiest pictures of the remarkable medieval village. Travel to one of the oldest cities in the Balkans as we cross into Albania, Shkodra, for dinner and a relaxing stay at our hotel. Hotel: Grand Hotel Europa 5* Meals: Breakfast, Dinner Key Highlights: Kotor Guided Tour 

  Hotel:  None

Day 8: Shkodra - Tirana - Ohrid

Starting our journey into Albanian culture, we embark on a walking tour of Shkodra witnessing the influence of Romans, Byzantine, Greek and Ottomans reflected in the town's fabric. Continue towards the centre of culture, religion, arts and entertainment, the charming capital of Tirana. With a panoramic city tour, savour the finest samples of Albanian architecture portraying the influence of various cultures. After a sightseeing tour of the popular sights and the bustling Skenderbeg Square, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Our journey resumes into Macedoni, Ohrid. Enjoy your dinner and a relaxing rest at the hotel, or you can join the exciting optional experience Balkan Night over dinner and familiarise with the local culture. Hotel: Hotel Unique Resort and Spa 4+* Meals: Breakfast, Dinner Key Highlights: Shkodra and Tirana City Tours Optional Experiences: Balkan Night Show 

  Hotel:  None

Day 9: Ohrid - St. Naum - Ohrid

Ohrid is home to the dazzling Ohrid Lake at the backdrop of a charming village ascending towards the hills, up to the marvellous castle – an immense site of UNESCO World Heritage. Join the optional experience of a calming boat trip on the Lake Ohrid, one of the deepest and oldest lakes of Europe, presenting splendid views of the village and monasteries along the coast. Disembark at the old town to launch your guided tour. Join your expert guide as we discover the hidden chapels, ancient crafts and all the stunning sights scattered along the narrow cobble-stone streets. We then depart for the gorgeous St. Naum Monastery complex and natural wonderland. Perched on the hills with astounding views of the lake, the incredibly well-preserved Eastern Orthodox monastery stood for more than a thousand years. After discovering the charming monastery, savour a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, surrounded by astounding nature, floating above natural pools maintained by the lake. Blessed with lakes, waterfalls and a beach to Lake Ohrid, we will enjoy our afternoon relaxing at St. Naum, never wanting to leave. We return to our hotel in Ohrid in time for dinner and a refreshing rest. Hotel: Hotel Unique Resort and Spa 4+* Meals: Breakfast, Dinner Key Highlights: Ohrid Guided Tour, St. Naum Monastery Visit 

  Hotel:  None

Day 10: Ohrid - Skopje

Following breakfast, we part with the marvellous Lake Ohrid and drive to the Macedonian capital. With a scenic ride through lush fields, hills and mountains, we arrive in Skopje and check-in to our hotel around noon. Join a guided tour with our local expert and follow the footsteps of Alexander the Great. Discover the immense cultural heritage with countless monuments and samples of fine architecture scattered all around the vibrant town. Personal leisure time in the afternoon, so you can dive deep into history and find every hidden landmark around town, and enjoy the vibrant main street hosting many local cafes, bars and restaurants. You may return to the hotel for dinner and a relaxing rest, or enjoy the town centre. Hotel: Holiday Inn Skopje 5* Meals: Breakfast, Dinner Key Highlights: Skopje City Tour 

  Hotel:  None

Day 11: Skopje - Matka Canyon - Sofia

Enjoy a filling breakfast at our stylish hotel, it is time to savour the stunning nature of nearby Matka Canyon. Home to diverse endemic life, wonderful lakes, medieval monasteries, caves, valleys and trekking routes, the canyon offers a myriad of unique experiences. You can join an optional boat trip in Matka Lake, visiting the fascinating caves only accessible via water, and have lunch with spectacular views after trekking through the canyon on a nature adventure. Driving through the beautiful Balkans landscape, we arrive at our hotel in Sofia. Join a heart-warming farewell dinner with your fellow travellers, the perfect end to your discovery of the colourful Balkans. Hotel: Hilton Sofia 5* Meals: Breakfast, Dinner Key Highlights: Matka Canyon 

  Hotel:  None

Day 12: Sofia

Our incredible Balkans adventure comes to an end following breakfast. Make sure to bid farewell to your newfound friends and exchange numbers before checking-out of the hotel (at 11:00). Complementary airport transfers are available all day, have a safe and smooth journey! Meals: Breakfast 

  Hotel:  None

Inclusions

 5 Star Characteristic Hotels: Accommodation in authentic, comfortable and ideally located premium hotels.

 Luxury Transportation: Deluxe air-conditioned coach.

 Exceptional Authentic Dining: 11 Breakfasts, 10 Dinners

 Travel Director: Expert Travel Director & Local Guides

 Journey Highlights: Unique itineraries with all must-see sights, more inclusions. Find more details below and in the itinerary.

 All Entrance Fees To All Sights: Entrance fees to all cultural, historical and natural sites on tour.

 Private Airport Transfer: Complimentary private airport transfers on arrival and departure dates.

 Baggage Handling: Seamless baggage handling, delivered to your room at every hotel.

 All Tips, Taxes And Porterage Charges: Tips at the hotels and restaurants, all taxes and porterage fees.

 Free Wi-Fi: Complimentary hotel Wi-Fi (where available).

Not Included

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28 Dec 2021

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27 Sep 2022

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18 Oct 2022

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12 Days / 11 Nights

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03 Jan 2023

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This Trip Is Operated By Ciconia Travel

Ciconia Exclusive Journeys are simply dedicated to creating lifelong travel memories through unforgettable authentic – but never artificial – experiences. Specialising in a select group of exotic destinations, Ciconia trips allow you to immerse in the local culture in premium comfort and style. Our experienced and passionate team has fulfilled the travel dreams of more than a hundred thousand cultural adventurers with Travel Talk, our parent company. Ciconia Exclusive Journeys brings this expertise to the more experienced travellers looking for exquisite comfort on authentic discoveries. Form real connections through unique Ciconia experiences and unparalleled insight. Journey with local Travel Directors throughout your trip, feeling the essence of each culture. Visit the most amazing sights and gems off the beaten path. Enjoy carefully crafted itineraries for your taste, and the delicate balance of sightseeing and personal leisure time. 

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